omar sachedina ctv

Lisa LaFlamme's replacement Omar Sachedina addresses controversy on first night

For his first night as the newest chief news anchor and senior editor at CTV National News, Omar Sachedina acknowledged the ongoing drama centred around his predecessor Lisa LaFlamme.

Since it was announced that LaFlamme would not return as the nightly anchor, the Canadian and international news cycles have been filled with rigorous debate over sexism and ageism.

Though Bell Media denied LaFlamme's contract was not renewed because of her grey hair, the dominant topic to emerge from the announcement seems to be how older women are treated in the workforce.

As the criticism continued to roll in, the news of Sachedina's appointment was largely missing from the discussion.

But on his first night hosting the evening news hour, he took a moment to address the controversy and thank LaFlamme.

"We typically cover the news but lately we have become the subject of it," Sachedina told his new viewers on Monday night.

"Over the past few weeks Canadians have been having important discussions about ageism, sexism and racism. The fact that we can have these conversations and learn from them is one of the hallmarks of this great country and reminds us of the role we all have in making it even better," he said.

He continued to tell viewers a little bit about his background, explaining that his parents were expelled from Uganda and "were welcomed by compassionate and generous Canadians from coast to coast to coast."

Sachedina started to close out the moment by recognizing LaFlamme and her legacy at CTV and Bell Media.

"Finally, it is important for me to acknowledge the inspiration and mentor that Lisa LaFlamme has been to me over the years. Lisa, thank you for everything. Like many of you, I really wish Lisa's goodbye could have been from here."

With his final sentiments, Sachedina committed himself to CTV viewers and appeared to try and smooth out some bumps with disgruntled watchers.

"I know welcoming me into your homes every night is not a right, it's a privilege. I will work hard with our team to earn and build your trust for that continued privilege. That's my commitment to you and that's our commitment to you," finished the 40-year-old anchor. 

Comments on the one-minute clip were largely mixed, many wishing Sachedina good luck in his new role, but also saying his speech did not win over anybody and accused him of not showing enough support for LaFlamme publicly. 

Sachedina was the former national affairs correspondent for CTV news and joined the company in 2009.

Throughout his journalism career, Sachedina has covered the former presidential inauguration of Barak Obama, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the 2011 Norway attacks.

Most recently, Sachedina was on the ground in Ukraine covering the ongoing war with Russia. 

Lead photo by

CTV News

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